Why Millennials tend to job hop – and how it can benefit your business


One of the oldest resume red flags for employers was that of the job hopper, the employee who changes jobs many times in a short period. It was often seen as a sign of an unstable and undesirable candidate who just didn’t know what they wanted, couldn’t fit in with the team, or who lacked the necessary skills to proceed. As a result, job hoppers historically faced rejection by employers at the first hurdle.

Admittedly, times are changing and negative attitudes towards job hoppers are softening among employers, with surveys showing many employers have hired a so called ‘job hopper’ in the past year. But according to research by CareerBuilder, there remain a hard core cohort of employers (43%) who steadfastly won’t consider job hoppers; they simply don’t trust them.

However, refusing to hire job hoppers full-stop is a counter-productive strategy, as many of them are highly skilled A-players. Contrary to popular belief, job hoppers aren’t all lazy, aimless, and disloyal; the majority of modern job hoppers are highly motivated, adaptable, and high performing.

Why do Millennials tend to job hop?

Research from LinkedIn shows that one of the chief reasons for job hopping among Millennials (who are the generation who job hop the most) is not aimlessness, but rather they have a clear strategy to explore different industries. College grads today explore 60% more industries in their first five years of employment than a couple of decades ago.

How can hiring job hoppers be good for business?

There are actually many advantages to hiring job hoppers; here are some of the biggest ones:

They can provide insider information on your competitors

Wouldn’t you like to know the inside tips and tricks used by your competition? Imagine you had access to a spy who could tell you the secrets? Think about it: the typical job hopper is more likely to have worked with the competition or worked with someone who worked for your competition. They are more likely to have up-to-date knowledge on competitor tactics, performance benchmarks, best practices, and once they come and join you, so will you. It’s no surprise then that according to research from CareerBuilder, 53% of employers believe that job-hoppers have a wide range of expertise.

They are usually highly driven

Job-hoppers are often higher performers than long tenure employers. How so? Well, in order to job hop successfully, you must spot opportunities, network, interview, on-board, forge new relations quickly, and hit the ground running – all qualities of a true A-player. Few B- or C-players will have the skill or drive to job hop successfully. Job hopping can be perceived as a sign of personal effectiveness and indicative of someone who can make a massive contribution to your business.

They are very adaptable

The reality is that you can’t job hop successfully unless you are adaptable, and it’s no surprise then that 51% of employers said that job hoppers were more adaptable. If you hire a job hopper the likelihood is that you are hiring an adaptable and versatile employee which can be a huge advantage in a volatile business world that increasingly requires agile workforces.

Lower recruitment costs and shorter time-to-hire

With 43% of employers refusing to consider job hoppers, it’s likely that job hoppers are facing a higher rejection rate than typical long tenure employees. There will be less demand for their services, making it harder for them to get a job. They will most likely be on the job market for longer, less confident about their employment chances, meaning they will have lower salary expectations and will be generally easier to hire than top performing, long tenure staff.

Injection of forward-thinking and dynamism to your business

Job hoppers are by their very nature entrepreneurial and willing to take a risk, and these kind of qualities in the right amounts can be very beneficial to an organization. If you are looking to introduce a new change to your business, transform a product, or start a new venture – which is all part of the normal course of business – job hopping entrepreneurial types will most likely step up to the plate, while long-serving workers may drag their feet and want to hold on to the past. Job hoppers bring dynamism and forward thinking to your business, enabling it to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Access to a wider resource pool and bigger candidate short-list

With 91% of Millennials now being identifiable as job hoppers – averaging tenures of 1 to 3 years – a huge proportion of the work-force could now be considered job hoppers. By opening your doors to job hoppers, you will gain access to an additional 70 million or so Millennial workers. In reality, being open to job hoppers means you can expect your candidate shortlists to double in size almost overnight.

While Millennials may indeed be a generation of job hoppers which can of course bring its challenges, seeing job hoppers as undesirable is out of date thinking. In fact, research suggests that the benefits of hiring job hoppers far outweigh the drawbacks. Job hopping is a fact of life, a sign of the times and a reflection of a dynamic, agile market full of opportunities and a vibrant and highly-motivated candidate pool. And employers who can best utilize the pool of Millennial job hoppers will gain the edge over the competition.

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